The North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) has announced the completion of four accessible ‘fuss-free’ coaches – part of its long-term initiative to make the heritage railway attraction accessible to all. It is thanks to funding secured from the Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project
The new fuss-free coaches ensure that all carriage sets in service will contain one coach that has been specially adapted for wheelchair users with access requirements, to accommodate them and their friends and family. The fuss-free coaches all have access ramps, accessible toilets and an accessible space to accommodate wheelchair users.
In addition, the NYMR has completed a full review of its access points and facilities, in order to make the necessary further adjustments. Some significant upgrades and changes include large print and braille menus and accessible route maps for Pickering Station; installing fixed and portable hearing loops; free travel for carers; accessible parking spaces; as well additional signage at its stations. The heritage railway has also updated its website, introducing new ‘access champions’, put its staff through access training and introduced downloadable station guides.
Laura Strangeway, Director of Corporate Services and Deputy CEO at NYMR, said: “This project is the start of an ongoing journey towards access for all at the NYMR. The introduction of our four new coaches means that now everyone can experience and enjoy the 24 miles of stunning scenery that our railway offers. We wouldn’t have been able to complete these important adjustments without the funding and support from key partnerships, and the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, staff and loyal NYMR visitors.”
Last year, the NYMR announced its involvement with ‘The North York Moors Accessibility Project’, an initiative to help the region’s tourism bounce back from the pandemic, funded by Visit England.
The fuss-free coaches will be amongst the last of the seven YMJ projects to be completed – all of which have been funded by grants from the European Union, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Department of Environment Farming and Rural Affairs, the Local Enterprise Partnership and by donations from the charity’s members and supporters.
NYMR has also secured section 106 funding from the North York Moors National Park with the help of Visit England to equip the railway with a host of useful equipment – from portable hearing loops to large-handled cutlery, toilet raisers to magnifiers.
The project is also being supported by Access For All UK, who are giving free mentoring and training to all of the participants, which includes site visits and advice to help venues put together their own accessibility guides.For more information visit, www.nymr.co.uk
Photo credit: Peter Kindersley